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Study: Net-based services adapted at rapid rate

Industry Standard

By Jeff Palfini

(IDG) -- Internet-based services, including technologies to carry voice over the Net and to log on to secure networks from outside, are being adopted at a rate faster than previously thought, according to a study released by a technology research firm.

Thirty-nine percent of medium and large companies surveyed have already implemented Internet services that let them hold conference calls over the Net and enable remote employees to log on to secure networks, according to Current Analysis, which polled 500 information technology specialists. An additional 21 percent plan to introduce such services in the next two years.

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The study underscores the influence that the Internet, which has become tarnished with the collapse of the technology bubble, has had on corporate America and suggests that many businesses still see the Net as a tool for increasing efficiency and lowering costs. As the technology becomes more reliable, more companies have adopted it because of the flexibility it allows them, the report stated.

"I don't think anyone had known for sure what the demand was before," said Don Ryan, an analyst at the Sterling, Va.-based research firm. "But as an analyst who has been studying this for a long time, it surprised me, the demand we saw."

The study found that the surge in Internet-based technologies is being fueled by rapid adoption of Web-based voice services, known as voice-over Internet protocol (VoIP), which companies are using for corporate meetings, conferences and seminars. VoIP was being used by 9 percent of the respondents, with 27 percent planning to jump on the bandwagon soon.

Even more popular is virtual private-network technology, which allows employees who are traveling or are in remote locations to log on to a company's internal network. It also allows distributors of a company's products to use their own computers to place orders on secure networks. The technology is Web-based and lets users enter from a standard Web page after entering user names and passwords.

Ryan said the respondents' views on Internet services were surprising. Respondents overwhelmingly said they found the Internet more reliable than traditional methods, such as placing orders over the phone or conference calls.

"This issue of the Internet or Internet-based services being less reliable is disappearing," Ryan said. "We did not find that this was a barrier to adoption of IP services."





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